Over the last couple of weeks, the NBA has been working on a return to conclude the 2019-2020 season officially. After forcing a suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic over three months ago, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver proposed a 22-team format to finish out the rest of the regular season at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
After receiving 29 of 30 votes in favor of bringing the season back in July, it became official -- players are going to return to the court next month. NBA fans, however, will have to wait until next season to get back in the stands. Or, according to a recent report, they will have to wait until 2021.
On Friday, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving conducted an 80-plus players' conference call to create an open dialogue about the dangers of returning to action next month. While several concerns were discussed, one of the topics on the call pertained to the possibility of not having fans in the stands for next season.
"The NBPA's leadership stated it is believed no fans will be permitted into games for the entire 2020-21 season," Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday. If that's the case, the Philadelphia 76ers could have a tough time next season as they struggled to pick up victories outside of their sold-out arena at the Wells Fargo Center throughout the 2019-2020 NBA season.
Starting next month, the Sixers will get a taste of playing games in an empty gym without support from the crowd. As they've failed to pick up more than ten wins on the road 65 games into the season, they are going to be viewed as one of the NBA's biggest mystery teams as the season concludes.
This situation for the Sixers is far from ideal -- but it seems the next few months could be an overall look at how next season will go for Philly if the NBAPA's evaluation regarding fans for next season is correct.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_